Consider this: Between 1985 and 1992, regular use of any illicit drug and cocaine declined by 50% and 78%, respectively. Non-coincidentally, this was the same time the Partnership for a Drug-Free America's national campaign hit America with powerful ads about drugs while, at the same time, incrementally generating up to $1 million a day in broadcast time and print space.
Any correlation? You bet. When media donations to the partnership started tailing off over the last two years, drug use started to increase among teenagers.
With number like these, how can PSAs "do more harm than good"?
Steven O. Frankfurt
Frankfurt Balkind Partners
Editor's note: Mr. Frankfurt is co-chair of the creative review committee for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
I am convinced that our powerful ads and slogan, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste," has made the United Negro College Fund one of the most recognized charitable organizations in America. That identity has helped us raise nearly $1 billion during our 50-year history so that today we can support more than 54,000 college students. .*.*. Without the Ad Council and Young & Rubicam as productive partners in UNCF's fund-raising activities, many of our students wouldn't be in college.
I believe PSAs can also help change behavior in ways that will help us stem the tide of child abuse, violence, hunger and AIDS. The operative word is "help." No one believes that PSAs are an either/or proposition. It takes consistent, repeated messages as well as the actions of committed individuals and organizations to make social change.
William H. Gray III
United Negro College Fund
In the special section concerning the 125th anniversary of N W Ayer (AA, April 4), I noticed a glaring error.
On page A-12 Ad Age asks the reader to see how many of the great and well known slogans they can identify that presumably came out of the fertile creative minds at Ayer over the years. And I believe all of them did except for the very first one. The slogan "Nothing runs like a Deere" was written by a great guy named Bob Wright for the Deere entries in the snowmobile market in the very early '70s, when all of the Deere business was with Gardner Advertising Co. in St. Louis.
When Ayer won the business from Gardner in about 1975, they had the good sense to do the obvious and take this great line and utilize it for Deere's entire product line.
Bob Wright has passed away, and Gardner, the 4th oldest agency in the U.S. at the time, went out of business several years ago, but the great line survived as a tribute to both of them.
Executive media director
Glennon & Co.
If advertisers are really interested in reaching Hispanic Americans, the fastest growing segment of our society, they need to address them in English.
According to American Demographics, affluent Hispanics are more likely to be English-speaking than Spanish-speaking. Nielsen numbers show that more than 60% of U.S. Hispanics watch TV in English. Furthermore, the use of Spanish in the home declines dramatically as Hispanics assimilate.
The Spanish-language media, particularly television, is just not relevant to the experience of second- and third-generation Hispanics living in the U.S.-where real growth is evident in numbers and buying power.
In sum, there are those American advertisers who will smartly ride the crest, recognizing that the buying power rests with English-speaking Hispanics. Unfortunately, there are still far too many who miss the boat.
President, Blue Pearl
We had the privilege of working with Dinah Shore on a highly successful multimedia advertising campaign for Holly Farms chicken in the mid-80s.
Dinah was an inspired choice. A beloved entertainer, she had written two cookbooks and was widely respected for her graciousness, hospitality and integrity.
Face-to-face, Dinah had a magical quality-a rare blend of homespun friendliness, disarming charm and solid common sense. She flashed the same warm smile and infectious laugh to best boy and ceo alike.
Before agreeing to work with Holly Farms, Dinah insisted on visiting the company and meeting the people. On a steamy July day she toured the North Wilkesboro, N.C., chicken processing plant, inspected the hatchery and a few outlying chicken-raising farms.
Throughout the county she was hailed like a visiting dignitary, besieged with autograph seekers and honored with songs, plaques and homemade cakes at a festive fried chicken lunch. Dinah responded with grace and modesty. She won the hearts of all Holly Farmers, and went on to inject her honesty, sincerity and humor into all of our advertising.
Dinah was a genuine original. She was always laughing on the outside, and those who were privileged to know her, even for a short while, are now crying on the inside.
Senior VP, Grey Advertising
I applaud your editorial on "Basic baseball" (AA, March 14) and agree that baseball deserves more dollars from big-time advertisers. I only ask that you consider the total baseball picture.
The Baseball Network will bring just 12 regular-season games to TV beginning after the All-Star break. Yet as baseball fans know, the season begins in April, not July with the Baseball Network's first broadcast. While I agree that baseball deserves a closer look from advertisers, perhaps advertisers need to look closer at another option: baseball on radio.
Your editorial mentioned that baseball is "nuances and subtleties." True, but what makes baseball so rich for advertisers is that each team has tremendous loyalty. ... These loyalties are not transferable during a 12-week nationally televised schedule. That is why for over 50 years fans have counted on radio to deliver the game in a warm, friendly home-market environment.
Baseball on radio is not glitzy or glamorous; it's "basic baseball" where 22 million weekly fans tune in an average of 3 games per week and 4.5 innings per game.
President, National Sports Media
Your editorial says, "Still, baseball nuances, surprises, skills and subtleties renew the game's appeal, as enthusiastic fans will loudly attest in Atlanta and Toronto. ..."
As one of those enthusiastic fans, may I point out that the real enthusiasm last year was in Philadelphia and Toronto, since the Phillies beat Atlanta and won fame, honor and respectability as the National League champions.
VP-communications, National Frozen Food Association
I enjoyed your article "Tilberis takes offensive in war on cancer" (AA, March 7). You quote Elizabeth Tilberis [editor of Harper's Bazaar] as saying "... Although the treatment for ovarian cancer is by and large successful, particularly in young women ..."
I realize that is a quote. But with a cure rate of only 20%, and 60% of all women with ovarian cancer dying within five years, I'm not sure I would consider current treatment for ovarian cancer "by and large successful."
Foote, Cone & Belding
I must disagree with the basic premises in your April 4 editorial "Ikea's tasteful reflection." While I enthusiastically join in your applause of Ikea's enlightened campaign, I do not concur with the hypothesis expressed that (a) advertising is an "art form," and (b) Ikea's intent was to "force open the envelope."
Advertising is not an art form. It is a system of business communication. Unlike art, advertising's purpose is not aesthetic. Advertising's purpose is to communicate a message; to sell that which the sponsor wishes to sell.
Advertising does not (or at least should not) aspire to "mirror society." It should reflect that segment of society which constitutes the advertiser's target market. And so Ikea's sole purpose in advertising, one must presume, is to reach its most likely target market and to sell furniture.
What Ikea and its agency have done, to their credit, is to recognize that likely buyers of Ikea's furniture include individuals who practice alternate lifestyles and/or accept those alternative lifestyles as unremarkable.
What we, as advertising professionals, can learn from this campaign is fundamental to sound advertising management: Identify your market segment, target it directly and sell to it. For that reason, Ikea's campaign does indeed "reflect nicely on advertising."
Steven J. Fradkin
President, The Wizard of Adz
With all due respect to Steve Dworin, there is no dearth of talent in the field of advertising and marketing management ("Star Search," AA, March 21). One need look no further than the People section of Ad Age to see that week after week women are rarely selected for jobs worth noting. Which means, of course, that women very rarely have the opportunity to develop "a great Rolodex" or the account relationships that will follow them to a new agency or whatever else it is that agencies are looking for that women never seem to have.
With exceptions you can count on your fingers and toes, talented women leave the industry or strike out on their own, rather than fight the odds against their being invited to join the ranks of the men who in overwhelming numbers run and own the agencies. Or they get laid off or they settle for positions just below those that make the publication because they have no alternative.
I hope that as top agency executives survey the "new crop of top quality executives awaiting a generational shift that will thrust them into the limelight," they will have the wisdom to ensure that at harvest time, the new crop doesn't end up looking just like the old crop.
Ann M. Humphrey
Director of marketing
Chevy Chase Bank